(urth) 5HC : Skinner, Turing and happiness

Iorwerth Thomas iorweththomas at hotmail.com
Wed Feb 16 06:19:14 PST 2005

>From: maru <marudubshinki at gmail.com>

>Not at all. I've long been convinced that my (and everyones really.  They 
>might not go about it
>very competently, but it seems universal to me) chief desire was to be 
>happy, and all
>my desires should be subordinated to that goal.
>Thus far, what seems to satisfy my desires, and also bring me happiness is 
>and games & computers, and good literature like Wolfe's. And good oolong 
>tea, but that is just me : )

Aristotle appears to have started his ethics along similar lines, but his 
definition of happiness winds up pretty different from the common-or-garden 
definition.  And he'd agree with you on the value of knowledge :)

(http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ethics-virtue/  if you really care about 
how this approach has been recently developed; it's one of the less dry 
entries.  The bit on whether virtue is suffiecient or necessary for 
eudaemonia [flourishing] has some relevance to what I'm about to say.)

'Happiness' in the common sense might have problems being defined as the aim 
of a prisoner of conscience in a Third-World country who refuses to back 
down on his or her beliefs in full knowledge of the consequences; while such 
a person might be described as 'morally fulfilled' - and may even feel so, 
on occasion - describing someone who is being frequently beaten, in solitary 
confinement, and/or tortured as 'happy' does feel like an abuse of the term, 
I'm afraid.  Though I may be misunderstanding your intent.  (Which is 
something I'm good at doing, so please forgive me if I have!)


More information about the Urth mailing list